Maiello's Book-Almost Hits the Metaphorical Stands
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
I found these three posts interesting, and rather than fill up the news section, I decided to put them here:
Since the Civil War, the American South has mostly been a one-party region. However, by the turn of the 21st century, its political affiliation had actually swung from the Democrats to the Republicans. Here’s how it happened.
It is not an oversimplification to say that slavery was the single most important issue leading to the Civil War. For not only was slavery the most important on its own merits, but none of the other relevant issues, such as expansion into the western territories or states’ rights, would have mattered much at all if not for their indelible connection to slavery.
Initially, Northerners rallied around the issue of Free Soil: opposition to slavery on economic grounds. Small farmers and new industrial workers did not want to compete with large slave plantations and unpaid slave labor. This was the philosophy that bound together the new Republican Party.
Guernica: The book cites some resistance from economists about getting involved with moral questions. Has this always been the case? Is this endemic to the discipline?
Michael Sandel: Well, most economics that is taught in college and universities today projects itself as a value-neutral science. This claim has always been open to question, but I think it’s especially in doubt today.
Over the last three decades economics has enlarged its ambition and subject matter. If you look at the economic textbook of Paul Samuelson, which was the most influential economic textbook in the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s, he defined economics by its subject matter—inflation, unemployment, foreign trade, the money supply, what made economies grow. Questions like that. Today if you look at most economic textbooks, economics is not defined by subject matter. It’s presented as a science of social choice that applies not only to material goods—not only to flat-screen televisions—but to every decision we make, whether it’s to get married, or to stay married, whether to have children and how to educate those children, or how to look after our health. Economics has increasingly become the science of human behavior in general, and it’s all the more unlikely to think that it can possibly be value-free—and, in fact, it isn’t. Economics rests on un-argued assumptions that need to be examined.
[Edward] Conard is a former partner of Romney’s at Bain Capital, the private equity firm that made them both staggeringly rich. Conard has spent the last four years writing a book, which will be released shortly. One of the premises is so foul as to make you marvel at humanity’s capacity to perform the mental gymnastics necessary to justify just about anything.
People believe what they want to believe, and apparently Conard believes that rising income inequality among Americans is a good thing for the United States.
... Conard claims the real cause of our current economic calamity wasn’t irresponsible and unethical dealings by financial institutions that engaged in chicanery alike levering their debt by factors of twenty and misleading people about the credibility of junk investments. No, don’t you know, it’s simply because regular people got panicky and tried to pull their money out of the banks. Silly plebeians. If they’d just left it there so the super rich and financial institutions could have kept investing it, we’d all be fine.